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Anthony Quinn: 1915–2001: Actor , Artist, Writer

Escaped The Mexican Revolution

Anthony Rudolph Oaxaca Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico to Francisco Quinn of Irish-Mexican descent and Manuella Oaxaca of Mexican and Cherokee ancestry. His father was fighting in the Mexican Revolution with Pancho Villa's forces at the time of his birth until the family fled to El Paso, Texas to escape federal troops. The family, which had grown with the birth of Quinn's sister Stella, eventually moved to California where they worked as farm laborers, earning ten cents an hour picking fruit. After settling in East Los Angeles when Quinn was six, Frank found work at the Lincoln Park Zoo and then as a laborer at the burgeoning film studios. He was killed in a car accident when Quinn was just nine.

His father's death forced Quinn to support his mother with odd jobs, including shining shoes, digging ditches, and driving a taxi. He also worked as a professional boxer, racking up sixteen consecutive victories until he was knocked out in his seventeenth fight and gave up the sport for good. After taking up the saxophone and forming a small orchestra, he joined a band with the Foursquare Gospel Church of the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and did some preaching in Los Angeles' Mexican neighborhoods. During this time, Quinn was teaching himself literature, music and painting, and taking courses in art and architecture. After winning an architectural drawing contest, he met Frank Lloyd Wright, who advised him to get medical help to improve his speech impediment. His speech actually deteriorated after the surgery, so he sought the help of former actress Katherine Hamil to improve his stammer though acting lessons.

At a Glance . . .

Born Antonio Rudolph Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico; died on June 3, 2001 in Boston; son of Francisco Quinn and Manuella Oaxaca; married Katherine De Mille (divorced 1965); married Iolanda Addolori (divorced 1997); married Kathy Benvin; children: Christopher (died 1941), Christina, Catalina, Duncan and Valentina by De Mille; Francesco, Daniele and Lorenzo by Addolori; Antonia and Ryan by Benvin; Alex and Sean by an unnamed German woman; and an unnamed son by an unnamed French woman.

Career: Actor. Made more than 200 films during a career that spanned 60 years. Other major film credits include The Guns of Navarone (1961), La Strada (1954), Wild Is the Wind (1957), Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), The Last Train From Gun Hill (1959) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962).

Awards: Best Supporting Actor, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1953, 1957; Best Actor, National Board of Review, 1964; Cecil B. DeMille Award, Golden Globes, 1987; Golden Camera Award, 1995.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalAnthony Quinn: 1915–2001: Actor , Artist, Writer Biography - Escaped The Mexican Revolution, Debuted On Stage And Screen, Offered More Rewarding Roles, Focused On Other Talents